Tag Archives: Philip Schultz

The Writers Studio @ 30-Five Pieces of Writing Advice From Philip Schultz

We all write for the same reason: to reveal what lies hidden in ourselves, to uncover truths that we would otherwise be too self-conscious to unearth.
View this in your browser
Update For People Who Write

From Lit Hub, May 3, 2017

Five Pieces of Writing Advice From Philip Schultz

Beware The Shitbird
By Emily Temple

In 1987, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz founded the Writers Studio, which grew from a casual workshop in a West Village living room to an established school with four locations, online programs, a reading series, and a nonprofit branch that gives students free access to writing workshops. Last Saturday, May 6th, the Writers Studio celebrated its 30th anniversary and the release of the anthology The Writers Studio at 30 (Epiphany Editions)—which contains work by current and former faculty and students, as well as Writers Studio Advisory Board members including Jennifer Egan, Robert Pinsky, and Edward Hirsch—at an event at the Strand’s Rare Book Room.

Schultz himself is a longtime teacher—in addition to the Writers Studio, he also founded and directed NYU’s graduate program in creative writing—and so, in advance of this weekend’s celebration, we asked him to share some of his valuable insights on writing with us.

From Philip Schultz:

1. Aim high


Tell yourself your life depends on what you might write that day. That a great truth lies beneath the surface, just within reach, waiting for you to find the courage to discover it. Hemingway got himself to write each morning by reminding himself that he’d always written before and would now; all he had to do was “write one true sentence,” the truest sentence that he knew. The truth, after all, is what readers most want to hear; a truth that only you can tell, that is personal, peculiar to you. Because it’s theirs, too.

2. Escape the Shitbird

At the Writers Studio, the school I started some thirty years ago, we have a name for the negative force that makes writing so hard: the Shitbird. It’s a black bird that perches on our shoulders, whispering perverse, ugly things designed to stop us from finding the truth. Its purpose is to cleanse us of all our desires and dreams, to censure how we really feel. It tells us we’re not smart or gifted enough to say anything of value. It feeds our fears and undermines our confidence, tells us we can’t possibly stay cooped up in a room alone, that under no circumstance can we render ourselves vulnerable to others by revealing who we really are through our writing.

The Shitbird’s main weapon is invisibility. It can’t sell us its negative theology if we recognize who’s speaking. When we hear ourselves being negative, fearful and doubtful of our abilities, we can be sure it’s there, behind the curtain, saying things like I don’t know what this story is about, or Even if I knew, I probably wouldn’t be able to write something like this. Once we teach ourselves to recognize the voice of the Shitbird, we can ask ourselves out loud what we’re so afraid of in this material, what exactly feels so shameful. Surprisingly, more often than not, we know. And knowing will allow us to think about good things like form, structure and music, which will then allow us to move forward and write. The Shitbird works undercover, in a fog; the last thing it wants us to do is see it in a bright conscious light.

3. Try writing from someone else’s perspective

The method we teach at the Writers Studio is persona writing: using another writer’s narrator or personality to tell our stories. It’s a technique that allows us to look at our stories through the prism of an invented speaker who doesn’t suffer from our fears and inhibitions, who’s, say, more ironic, or funnier, or crazier than we are, and to whom we can therefore give permission to say what we can’t ourselves. A thirty-year-old J.D. Salinger used a seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield to dig up old buried feelings we all identified with; a fifty-year-old Mark Twain pretended to be young Huck Finn to recreate the lost world of his youth. Men write from the point of view of women, women from the point of view of men, all for the same reason: to reveal what lies hidden in themselves, to uncover truths that they would otherwise be too self-conscious to unearth.

4. Don’t be afraid to switch genres

I wanted to write fiction but discovered the brevity and depth of poetry allowed me to develop further as a writer. The poetic persona suits me better than the fictional one. At our school poets discover they’re really fiction writers and vice versa all the time. The right technique gives us permission to be wrong, and bad, and unfair, things we perhaps always longed to be; it allows us to be ourselves, irrevocably.

5. Become both ventriloquist and dummy

It helps to distance yourself from your characters’ anxieties so you can look at them more objectively. A good way of doing this is to imagine your story being played out on a stage, with your narrator, first person or third, directing all the characters. You can do this with a poem by turning it into a scene in which your narrator describes his or her feelings about what’s taking place. I once wrote a poem about fathers standing in the cold waiting to get a popular electronic game for their sons. In speaking about others, the narrator was free to reveal his own fears and vulnerabilities about fatherhood in a way I hadn’t been able to previously.

The ventriloquist isn’t responsible for what the dummy says; he isn’t really speaking, after all. By pretending to be a ventriloquist, we underscore the difference between ourselves and our characters. We might even be horrified by what they do and say.

As for the dummy: imagine your story being told by a favorite writer. Imagine how he or she might go about describing your most intimate fears and desires. Find the pleasure in the telling, the imagining. Objectify yourself to the point of casual indifference. Surprise yourself by what you hear yourself saying. Is this really the story you intended? It seems so strange suddenly, so unfamiliar. Try to amaze yourself with your own imagination.

$30 Discount To Celebrate 30 Years

Early Bird Discount for early registration.

Take $30 off any Summer Workshop.

Discount must be taken at time of registration, Online or by phone 1 (212) 255-7075. Offer may not be combined with any other discount.
Valid while supplies last. Expires 6/2/17.

Summer Schedule

Online Level I starts
June 5 Details and registration here
July 1 Details and registration here
July 25 Details and registration here

Online Advanced Poetry starts
June 1 Details and registration here

NYC Level I starts
June 21 Details and registration here
July 10 Details and registration here

NYC Advanced Poetry starts
June 5. Details and registration here

Hudson Valley Workshop starts
June 20. Details and registration here

Tucson Workshop starts
June 29 Details and registration here
July 1 Details and registration here

San Franciso Workshop starts
June 14 Details and registration here
June 17 Details and registration here

Take $30 off any Summer Workshop.
Discount must be taken at time of registration, Online or by phone 1 (212) 255-7075. Offer may not be combined with any other discount.
Valid while supplies last. Expires 6/2/17.
Questions? Comments? Reply. Or give us a call: 212-255-7075. Or write to info@writerstudio.com. Or check out our FAQ page here.
Forward to Someone
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

Writers Studio August 25, 2015- Writing Courses & I write because … & Success!

  • Writers Studio  August 25, 2015- Writing Courses & I write because … & Success! 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

Writers Studio- Free class is tonight! & Other Writing Classes

Writers Studio- Free class is tonight! & Other Writing Classes
View this in your browser

Tonight March 19, 2015 : Free Class

RSVP Here! Discover how we can help you achieve your writing goals. Our students publish, win awards, and join a life-long, supportive writing community. Registration is required. To learn more about the Writers Studio, including our upcoming spring class schedule, visit us at writerstudio.com.

TONIGHT, March 19th
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

3861 N. First Ave.
(south of Roger on west side of street, look for the red mailbox, parking behind the building)

Reneé Bibby, Janelle Drumwright, and Lela Scott MacNeil, Writers Studio teachers, will offer an introduction to The Writers Studio method. Learn about the elements of craft and receive a writing exercise to begin a story or a poem. A Writers Studio student will present an example of his or her work in response to the exercise.Beginners and advanced writers welcome!

Sign up now for Spring Classes:

Spring classes are filling up fast! Make sure you get your spot, sign up today:

Starting Saturday, March 28th, Spring Workshop, taught by Lela Scott MacNeil, Saturdays 10:00am-12:30pm, classes meet at 3861 N. 1st Ave, Tucson AZ 85719,SIGN UP NOW

Starting Thursday, April 2nd, Spring Workshop, taught by Reneé Bibby, Thursdays 6:30pm-9:00pm, classes meet at 3861 N. 1st Ave, Tucson AZ 85719, SIGN UP NOW

RENEÉ BIBBY is the assistant director of The Writers Studio Tucson and a fiction writer trained in The Writers Studio method. She graduated from Grinnell College. She has been published in Black & BLUE and Crack The Spine.

LELA SCOTT MACNEIL is a fiction writer trained in The Writers Studio method. Lela has a BFA in Screenwriting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Arizona. She is the Sales Manager at the University of Arizona Press. Her work has been published in Gertrude and alongside Dennis Lehane in the Springsteen inspired Noir anthology Trouble in the Heartland.

And in case you don’t already know about us…

The Writers Studio, a 27-year-old writing school founded in New York City by Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Schultz, began its first highly successful 10-week creative writing workshop in Tucson in June 2005.  Since then, The Writers Studio Tucson has grown, offering three levels of classes, and helping students get published and achieve their writing goals. Attend a free introductory class and learn about The Writers Studio’s unique, craft-oriented method, which for the last ten years has helped advanced and novice Tucson writers realize their full creative potential. More at www.writerstudio.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

Writers Studio Dec 16, 2014- the Impulse to Preserve & Poetry Workshops & Teaching Dyslexic Students

Writers Studio  Dec 16, 2014- the Impulse to Preserve & Poetry Workshops & Teaching  Dyslexic Students

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

Writers Studio News Nov 25, 2014 – How one approaches the very thing one is afraid of & Writing Workshops

Writers Studio News Nov 25, 2014 – How one approaches the very thing one is afraid of & Writing Workshops

“WHAT YOU’RE HEARING IS HOW ONE WRITES SOMETHING THAT IS SO OVERWHELMINGLY EMOTIONAL, that it would be terrifying to approach. All this incredible craft, all this pleasure, all this joy, all this problem solving allows you to do it. And those stories all of you are so afraid of, you’re hearing something about how it is made. And how one approaches the very thing one is afraid of.” –Philip Schultz on the craft and process in Edward Hirsch’s book-length elegy Gabriel. Edward Hirsch was a guest in the Writers Studio Fall Craft Class.
* Winter Craft Class starts December 9. Reading lists are here. Order discounted books here. Register for Fall and Winter Classes here.

>> WINTER WORKSHOPS BEGIN IN DECEMBER AND JANUARY. SIGN UP NOW. Winter is the perfect time to join a community of like-minded writers and delve into good books to help you realize your own literary ambitions. Here is a sample of upcoming entry-level classes. Full schedule is here.
* Online Level I with Michele Herman begins Monday, January 5. Register here.
* Online Level I with Anamyn Turowski begins Wednesday, January 7. Register here.
* Online Intermediate Poetry begins Wednesday, January 7. Write to peter@writerstudio.com to apply for a spot in this class.
* NYC Level I with Brian McDonald begins Monday, January 12. Register here.
* NYC Level I with Therese Eiben begins Tuesday, January 13. Register here.
* NJ Level I meets in Short HIlls 6:30-8:30 PM with Doris Cheng beginning Tuesday, January 13. Register here
* Tucson Workshop with Renee Bibby starts Thursday January 8. Register here.
* San Francisco Workshop with Gail Ford starts January 7 and 8. Register here.
* Amsterdam Workshop with Charles Cassar starts Wednesday January 7 Register here.

>> CONGRATULATIONS, LIZ KINGSLEY. Now available for pre-order is Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience, which includes an essay by Liz entitled, “Nature’s Perfect Blend: A Work in Progress.” Liz is the Writers Studio administrative director and a writer in the NYC Master Class. Order it here.

>> RISKY WORDS READING BY EPIPHANY MAGAZINE. Tuesday, December 14. Vietnamese high school rap, New York pedicabs, transgenderization, the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, and a wholly unreliable father’s prayer: all fodder for an Epiphany reading. Please join the editors to celebrate the launch of our blockbuster issue, “Risky Words.” Five contributing authors will read. With an introduction by editor-at-large, Joel Hinman, who teachers Level II Online and in NYC for the Writers Studio

>> THIS THANKSGIVING GIVE SOME YOUNG WRITERS A FUN AND CREATIVE REASON TO FEEL THANKFUL. Donate to the Writers Studio Kids Write, a program offering afterschool and summer writing workshops to high school students living in Brooklyn. These writing workshops are free to students and made possible through the generous contributions of community partners, individual donors, and Writers Studio community members. You can easily make a tax-deductible donation here.

>> POEM BY PHILIP SCHULTZ FEATURED ON THE WRITERS ALMANAC. Recently, the Writers Almanac featured the poem “Husband” by Writers Studio Founder Philip Schultz. Read it here.

Stay connected. Follow us on FB and Twitter for special offers from cultural institutions, free workshops, discounts, inspiration, and publishing opportunities:
http://www.writerstudio.com / 212-255-7075 / TWITTER /
FB EVERYONE / FB TUCSON / FB SAN FRANCISCO / FB AMSTERDAM / YOUTUBE /writerstudio1@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

The Writers Studio- CELEBRATE THE 100-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF JAMES JOYCE’S DUBLINERS & FOUNDER PHILIP SCHULTZ FEATURED ON POETRY DAILY & Writing Courses

>> FOUNDER PHILIP SCHULTZ FEATURED ON POETRY DAILY. An excerpt of his moving novel in verse, The Wherewithal, was featured on June 5th. Read the excerpt here.

>> VIDEO NOW AVAILABLE OF WRITERS STUDIO FACULTY READING. Did you miss the most recent Writers Studio reading on April 26th? Are you curious about the work of Writers Studio faculty? If so, tune into the Writers Studio You Tube channel and view a video of the reading.

>> “The workshop has definitely made my writing life more challenging in that it provides a wonderful springboard or launch pad. Most of my short stories have begun as Writers Studio exercises.” –Elizabeth England, winner of the Grand Prize Fiction Award from Inkwell Magazine while a NYC Writers Studio student 

>> BE INSPIRED BY SUMMER. REGISTER NOW WHILE SPACE IS AVAILABLE.
* Online Level I with Anamyn Turowski starts Wednesday, June 25. ❤ spots open> Register here.
* Online Level I with Whitney Porter starts Thursday, June 26. <open> Register here.
* NYC Level I with Rebecca Gee starts Wednesday, June 18. <4 spots open> Register here.
* NYC Level I with Rebecca Cooney starts Tuesday, June 24. <open> Register here.
San Francisco Workshop begins June 11 <wait list only> and June 12 <4 spots open>. Register here.
* Tucson Workshop begins July 17. Register here.

>> EVEN EXPERIENCED WRITERS NEED SUPPORT. If you have completed an MFA, or taken two or more writing classes beyond the college level, or published your work, you can enter the Writers Studio at Level II. .

*NYC Level II begins June 5. 

You may register up to two weeks late.

*Online Intermediate Poetry begins June 25. 


>> CELEBRATE THE 100-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF JAMES JOYCE’S DUBLINERS with the Irish Arts Center. Bloomsday on Broadway XXXIII will feature readings by Cynthia Nixon and others of several of the book’s stellar stories, including the beloved concluding novella “The Dead,” as well as remarks by authors Andre Aciman and Column McCann. This event will be held at Symphony Space on Monday, June 16th. To find out more or buy tickets, go here.

 

>> IF YOU ARE A TEACHER OR PARENT WORKING WITH LD STUDENTS, WE HAVE A COURSE FOR YOU. Find out more about the Writers Studio teacher-training course focussed on helping students with learning disabilities enjoy creative writing and reading. Class starts June 2. <You may register up to 2 weeks late> More infoRegister. 

Ask questions.


Stay connected. Follow us on FB and Twitter for special offers from cultural institutions, free workshops, DISCOUNTS, inspiration, and publishing opportunities:
www.writerstudio.com / 212-255-7075 / TWITTER /
FB EVERYONE / FB TUCSON / FB SAN FRANCISCO / FB AMSTERDAM  / YOUTUBE /writerstudio1@gmail.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read, Workshops & Conferences

Writers Studio- WHEN I AM WRITING, I AM TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO I AM and Writing Courses

>Writers Studio-  WHEN I AM WRITING, I AM TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO I AM and Writing Courses 
“WHEN I AM WRITING, I AM TRYING TO FIND OUT WHO I AM, WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE’RE CAPABLE OF, HOW WE FEEL, HOW WE LOSE AND STAND UP, AND GO ON FROM DARKNESS INTO DARKNESS.” –Maya Angelou. In her lifetime, Maya Angelou went from dropping out of school to being an internationally acclaimed poet and memoirist. She passed away on Wednesday at the age of 86. Her poetry, writing, and guidance will live on with all of us.
 
>> WATCH THE VIDEO OF PHILIP SCHULTZ AND MICHAEL DICKMAN’S phenomenal reading at the Strand. If you missed this reading in March or simply want to get inspired again and again, view the video here.
>> WAITING FOR ONE, PERFECT CLASS TO SIGN UP FOR?
* Online Level I with Michele Herman started Monday, June 2. <2 spots open> You may register up to two weeks late.
* NYC Level I with Rebecca Gee starts Wednesday, June 18. <open> Register here.
* NYC Level I with Rebecca Cooney starts Tuesday, June 24. <open> Register here.
San Francisco Workshop begins June 11 <wait list only> and June 12. Register here.
* Tucson Workshop begins July 17. Register here.
>> “Being with the Writers Studio has had an enormous influence in my writing, inspiring me and encouraging me to really take it and myself seriously as a writer.”–Jennifer Gryzenhout, Amsterdam Advanced Student
 
>> TIME TO RE-COMMIT TO YOUR WRITING. If you have completed an MFA, or taken two or more writing classes beyond the college level, or published your work, you can enter the Writers Studio at Level II.
*Online Level II begins June 5.
*NYC Level II begins June 5. 
*Online Intermediate Poetry begins June 25. 
 
>> IF YOU ARE A TEACHER OR PARENT WORKING WITH LD STUDENTS, WE HAVE A COURSE FOR YOU. Find out more about the Writers Studio teacher-training course focussed on helping students with learning disabilities enjoy creative writing and reading. Class starts June 2. <You may register up to 2 weeks late> More infoRegister. 

Ask questions.

>> TUTORIALS: The Writers Studio Tutorial Program is designed for students who are not able to attend weekly workshops or wish to concentrate on their work on a one-to-one basis with one of our teachers. For the emerging writer, we teach the basics of persona creation and an array of techniques that are essential to understanding the writing process. For the more developed writer, we can assist in solidifying a narrative voice in fiction or poetry through a series of exercises. For the established writer, we can help in the revision of a fiction or poetry manuscript. We also have Writers Studio-trained developmental editors on staff who can read your completed draft and provide copious, helpful notes in the text to help you polish and restructure as needed. Write to: lisabadner@writerstudio.com to find the best teacher for you.
 
Stay connected. Follow us on FB and Twitter for special offers from cultural institutions, free workshops, DISCOUNTS, inspiration, and publishing opportunities:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences